I have taken a brief and unwanted break from blogging, but I hope that it is over. First the MacBook Pro that I use for writing and blogging developed a weird, possibly demonic (or daemonic) directory corruption that flummoxed even the specialists up at Voelker Research. About the same time, my desk/computer chair broke, which felt like a sign. A sign that I should just go hiking and read more novels, possibly. And ponder some vivid and meaningful dreams.
That was wonderful, but I have to give a couple of talks next week, and I needed to prepare. So there I was out on the veranda with a legal pad and a stack of books and print-outs, preparing. If I have learned anything in teaching it is that I am not as good at “winging it” as I like to think I am—unless it is a course that I have already taught ten times over.
The book is both a rich ethnographic account of controversial Pagan festival and a provocative reflection on the role of emotions, symbols, and ritual in theories of religion. The festival involves “a recreation of the Witches’ sabbat . . . It’s R-rated, it contains adult themes, nudity and sex references”, according to Harrison — one of the festival participants I interviewed. The theory develops what Graham Harvey and I are calling “relational theory” in the study of religion.
It is on my reading list.
And speaking of reading, expect more book reviews here over the next few weeks.